There was a lot of uproar last week when Facebook rolled out yet another set of changes to the main news feed on the site. This sort of thing happens every so often in the Facebook community – in fact, one of my favorite online comics, The Oatmeal, spoofed the Facebook outrage quite well in the comic "Winter 2010 The State of the Web" (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/state_web_winter. Seriously, check out his other stuff, too). It depicts a user threatening to kill everyone and everything over a change to the layout. In the next panel, "15 minutes later," a friend walks up and notices the new layout, at which point the outraged user no longer even recalls the "old" layout.
I bring this up, because the fervor last week played out exactly like the comic. Seriously, people were going absolutely apeshit over the modifications on Wednesday, when it rolled out, and by Friday I didn’t even hear a peep (although, maybe that’s because I couldn’t see anybody’s reaction on account of the new timeline – zing!). By this week, it’s such old news people probably don’t even remember what it used to look like. The thing is, brace yourselves for another round. "Soon," Facebook will be overhauling the profile pages and replacing them with a scrapbook-like "timeline." Some may have heard the announcement made last week (in conjunction with the announcement of integration with Spotify, the newly-arrived-on-US-shores music subscription service), but most people probably have no idea it’s coming. Just wait for the shitstorm on this one.
I honestly don’t care too much one way or the other about the changes, since change is inevitable and it’s silly to get worked up about a social network changing its layout. On its unveiling, a lot of people started gushing praise for the profile based on Facebook’s slick presentation. Fair enough; the well-crafted profile pages in their demos look pretty sweet, and I’m all for it. But my question is this: who the hell has the time to invest in it? Facebook already requires enough effort, now it’s getting turned into scrapbooking, but, I suppose those who want to invest hard hours in painstakingly setting up their Internet face, more power to them. But like I said – brace for the bitching.
I have to put in a quick plug for Friday’s American Masters Lecture: Physics of the Future featuring Dr. Michio Kaku at the Scranton Cultural Center, presented by the Lackawanna County Library System. Dr. Kaku is basically a superstar of popular science. He’s written more than a half-dozen books explaining things like String Theory and parallel universes to the layperson, as well as hosting and appearing on countless TV and radio shows. I first heard of Dr. Kaku in high school after having a particularly heady conversation, when a friend recommended I read one of his early books, Hyperspace. It was a lot to digest (I really should re-read it), but I was hooked on his matter-of-fact style and boundless enthusiasm for the subject. I always said I’d have become a theoretical physicist if not for my mathematical deficiencies, such as the inability to multiply single-digit numbers. Through the years, I’ve become an even bigger fan as he’s appeared on more programs on Discovery, Science Channel, etc. I’m absolutely ecstatic about the opportunity to see Dr. Kaku give a lecture, and it looks like this should be a good one.
I’m currently tearing through the book he’ll be referencing, Physics of the Future, and it’s fantastic. Dig out your library card and get tickets – don’t miss the chance to be enlightened and delighted by a truly great mind.